USD stands for Universal Scene Description which is a pipeline for defining, composing and reading hierarchical scene descriptions. It was developed by Pixar and is the core of its 3D graphics pipeline. It provides a scene description of models and shots to be consumed by all Pixar’s rendering application systems as well as other third-party applications and NVIDIA GPU applications.

TouchDesigner loads and imports most geometric schemas from a USD file in crate/binary or ASCII file formats with extensions as (.usd), (.usda), (.usdc), and (.usdz).

USD facilitates the collaboration of multiple artists or content creators to work on the same scene and assets. This means that they have the capability to make their own assemblies, packaging, edit their assets and data, or define variant sets to a have switchable discrete set of alternatives of scene tree.

For detailed description of USD features and API refer to

For examples:

USD version 20.08 is currently being used in TouchDesigner.

See: USD COMP, USD In TouchDesigner